Everything about this conference has been a pain in the ass. Their bracket was strangely difficult to find, I ended up stealing a generic one from another site. One of the books calls it the “Southern Athletic League”, which was confusing and made it harder to compare odds than it should be. Additionally, I’m SURE that I have not watched a single SWAC game all year and have no idea which Texas team to back here. The combination of Texas Southern and Southern have won the past six years, so it might take some Huevos to roll with someone else.
When and Where: March 12th-16th, first rounds at campus sites, finishing up at the Bill Harris Arena located on the Alabama State Fairgrounds in Birmingham.
Defending Champ: Texas Southern Tigers
Who’s Good: Texas Southern, Prairie View A&M
Who’s Sneaky: Grambling, Jackson St.
Who Stinks Out Loud: Gotta give multiple shouts here as Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M went a combined 0-54 on the road this season.
Coolest Team Nickname: Mississippi Valley State’s Delta Devils. Small quirk about the league: it appears to be the only one in which every single team nickname is changed to a feminine version for the women’s teams. MSVU is the “Devilettes”…
Seeding and rules: Top eight get to play. First rounds are at high-seed’s campuses. The Semi-finals and Final are at the Fairgrounds.
Multi-Bid League: Not even close. Projected sixteen seed.
Breakdown: After the games are played, it might turn out that I was way off base and this could be an upset-laden mess, but my model breakdown thinks otherwise and clearly points to there being two pretty decent teams and six pretty bad teams. So, I’m just going to work from there.
Prairie View and TX Southern split the season series, each winning at home, both shoot the three ball equally poorly, and have similar offensive and defensive efficiency metrics. Texas Southern had a couple of impressive non-conference wins, but PVAM ran roughshod through conference play. I honestly think they should scrap the rest of the field and make these two play a best-of-three series for the bid.
My Pick(s): While my model showed a strong line of demarcation between the top two and “the rest”, it did have a much stronger liking of Prairie View in some key metrics I use. Along with that, they’ve been hot down the stretch, winners of eight straight. Easy path, plus a slight advantage in the final, I’ll take the Panthers for a half-stake.
Note: I obviously shopped around and got a better price on this, and I encourage you to do the same as these can vary greatly from shop to shop. There are now a handful of books that have markets for these. I will continue to use the same screenshots though, as I like to see the two-way prices.
Prairie View A&M +140 (0.75x)